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Friday, April 6, 2007

WE THE PEOPLE MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

April in Rwanda

April 6, 1994, the Rwandan nightmare started. The whole world just stood by and chose to do absolutely nothing but desert the victims of genocide. That was 13 years ago. President Clinton's Prudence Bushnell was under orders NOT to Call IT GENOCIDE, but "acts" of genocide. One reporter asked her how many "acts of genocide" does it take to make a genocide and she was caught without permission to answer truthfully.

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BE EMPOWERED
I dare say if you don't use your "freedom of speech" you don't have any. Be a part of our government and democracy. We see what happens when all we do is vote and leave the rest to the politicians at times - haven't we? "We the People" are a critically vital part of making this democracy just that - a democracy... for all.

If We Only Have Love

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARVGtW1yguc

Regarding Darfur
History is in the making - the kind that democracy's purpose gets to shine and stand up for Right...even when our federal government doesn't always speak for us as we might choose. We certainly wouldn't choose to let our investment monies be used to fund the genocide. Would we? Divestment bills will prevent our state pension funds to be used for Beshir's genocide on his own people.

How is a genocide stopped?
…Especially when the democracies of the world essentially pay it little more than lip service and even that is infrequent and lacking in real integrity. And when the
USA’s media treat it as a non-story. There are ways.

There are many who avoid learning how to navigate the internet. But there are many others of us who do use the internet as a source of obtaining news otherwise hard-to-get and who are using the internet to come together in a grass roots fashion to unite in our efforts.


At the Rhode Island House of Representatives April 5, 2007.
Picture taken by Don Mallinson.


About the Intervention of Genocide
Citizens - finding ways to make a difference when our media is failing us and when the President and his administration also have failed us on this human right to live out natural life versus genocide – are working at the grassroots level in many ways.
We lobby our elected politicians, as well as call them and write to them, we educate others, we use our “freedom of speech” to speak up and stand out.

Sandra Hammel at the RI House of Reps April 5, 2007 for the vote on bill # 5142.
Picture taken by Don Mallinson.


We have found a way to sidestep the complicity of our federal government.
It is called targeted divestment.
Some companies in
Sudan are virtually funding Sudanese’ President Omar al-Bashir’s military and that military is actively attacking unarmed civilians with the intent to eliminate them. In the simplest definition - when you target a group of people for any reason and kill them, starve them to death and rape them as a tool to ruin them – it is called genocide.

State by state the grassroot’s effort is to divest every state’s investments from Sudanese companies that are funding the genocide. Fidelity is the number one targeted company. You can go to http://www.sudandivestment.org/
and if you add the state’s name after that you can find out more information.


On March 20, Rhode Island’s Senate passed the Divest from Sudan bill #87, 33-0 and the Rhode Island House of Representatives passed the Targeted Sudan Divestment sister bill #5142 this afternoon, April 5, 2007, around 4:20 p.m. favorably 53-0. It was very exciting to be there with 33 other activists, most of which were college students, and sit in the gallery and watch the vote. It was an honor to be associated with the Brown University students, especially, Scott Warren, but also Colin O'Brien, who worked so hard to make this bill get this far. I sat beside Frank Caprio, the RI Treasurer who listened to Darfur STANDNOW.org activist, Scott Warren, and acted on behalf of this important legislation. And I also met the Rhode Islad Representative Joe Almeida who sponsored the House bill.


April 5, 2007, just before the vote in the RI House. SaveDarfur Activist, Sandra Hammel, RI Treasurer Frank Caprio, RI Rep Joe Almeida, Divestment Activist and StandNow leader, Scott Warren, Colin O'Brien, Karen Kovalevich, the last three are Brown University students.

This is a great day. We now have to wait for the senate and house bills to merge into one bill that can be sent to Governor Donald Carcieri to consider signing to make sure that Rhode Island pension investment monies don't fund a genocide led by President Omar al-Bashir on his own people. It is time to stand up and make a difference. Genocide needs to be history!

22 of 50 states have not initiated any legislation of divestment from Sudan. If you go to www.sudandivestment.org you can find a map that shows the status of each state. 20 states including Rhode Island are working bills through their respective legislatures. 8 states have signed bills of one of the two forms of divestment bills.

It is important that individuals, colleges, churches or any other organization learn about divestment and then call the financial advisor that you/they work with and make certain that you are not unwillingly funding the genocide.

We can get Omar al-Bashir’s attention by this method of empowering our voices and actions to send the message to al-Bashir and his friends in the Chinese companies that are supporting him and reaping Sudan’s oil. Let us not be complicit, passive and apathetic. Let us be proactive, morally bound and full of integrity. Silence on this matter just means we don’t care. But it also kills as sure as a weapon.

The four worst offending companies are:

PetroChina

Sinopec

ONGC

Petronas.

One campaign that is being promoted nationwide by grassroots is

“Fidelity Out of Sudan”


The Fidelity Out of Sudan campaign

The Fidelity Out of Sudan campaign extends the targeted divestment movement to also include mutual funds. Other ongoing campaigns have focused on divestment at the state and university level.

Without realizing it, many families hold investments that indirectly contribute to the genocide in Darfur. When they learn the facts, they are typically outraged. The campaign educates the public and helps people object to these tainted investments that investment companies are making on their behalf. The campaign has resonated with the public because divesting from mutual funds and/or objecting to investment companies is a personal and direct action people can take to supplement their other advocacy and fund raising efforts for Darfur. For recent press coverage, visit www.FidelityOutOfSudan.com and select the link for Press.

The campaign’s goal is for Fidelity and other institutions to divest from two Chinese oil companies, PetroChina and Sinopec, which help to fund the genocide in Darfur. Visit www.FidelityOutOfSudan.com for a wealth of detail about the campaign, the problem companies, and actions to take. The campaign advocates that people, whether or not they hold Fidelity shares, take a range of actions including:

  • Sign the petition
  • Directly express your concerns to Fidelity
  • Move out of funds that invest in these Chinese oil companies
  • Move savings entirely out of Fidelity
  • Ask employers to move 401k plans away from Fidelity
  • Share information about the campaign and your actions with family and friends

Benefits of coordinated action


The Save Darfur Coalition’s Global Days for Darfur event in April provides an outstanding opportunity to unite the efforts of groups around the world to make a major impact on Fidelity. Focusing on Fidelity is a clear, focused, and fresh way to mobilize the public in support of the people of Darfur. It’s also an opportunity for decentralized but coordinated action by all the Coalition members on a common goal while retaining complete flexibility at the local level. Campaign staff members will support local efforts with start-up materials, help to coordinate local actions, and leverage all the local initiatives to maximize national press coverage.

Suggested local action


The Global Days for Darfur are April 23-30. We suggest the following schedule of activity:

April 23-28

  • Get all members of the local organization to each collect at least 10 signatures from family and friends. Note that multiple members of each household may individually sign and that there is no age limit or need to be a Fidelity investor
  • Publicize the Fidelity Out of Sudan campaign at all local Darfur events by handing out flyers, and collecting petitions. If possible, show the Fox TV video describing the campaign.
  • Identify one large employer in the area that uses Fidelity for its 401k. Use the 401k Action Plan suggestions, posted on the website, to organize employees to initiate employer engagement with Fidelity.
  • Collect petition signatures and hand out flyers outside local Fidelity offices

April 30-May 1

May 2-3

  • The Fidelity Out of Sudan team will create a consolidated package of petitions. This package will be distributed as a PDF file for local groups to print and then deliver to a local Fidelity office.

May 4

  • Local groups around the country deliver the thousands of petitions to their local Fidelity branch office, with the opportunity for local press coverage. Fidelity Out of Sudan will seek to arrange national coverage.

Registering to participate


Please tell us about your plans, by contacting us at Info@FidelityOutOfSudan.com or 617-517-6310. We will hold conference calls as necessary, communicate your suggestions and plans to other groups, provide materials to facilitate your efforts, and coordinate with you to receive the consolidated package. The first conference call will be on March 29th.

Video and other support materials


There are a variety of support materials available online by visiting www.FidelityOutOfSudan.com and selecting the link for Campaign Materials. These materials include several forms of flyers, the Fox TV video, a paper petition, and an action plan for companies with 401k plans administered by Fidelity or with Fidelity funds.

We look forward to hearing from you. Please let us know how we can help support your efforts!


Contact the campaign via email at info@FidelityOutofSudan.com or leave a message at 617-517-6310.

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Pictured on left is one of the three directors/producers on the *film, Jen Marlowe, in the center is the executive director of The Pell Center, Dr. Peter Liotta and on the right is me, Sandra Hammel. March 25, 2007 in conjunction with The Pell Center at Salve Regina University, the documentary film *“Darfur Diaries – Message from Home” was screened for a large crowd at the Jane Picken Theatre in downtown Newport, Rhode Island. Jen also signed her book “Darfur Diaries - Stories of Survival"

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GLOBAL DAYS FOR DARFUR
April 23-30, 2007
Find an event in your area and attend or better yet, organize one
http://www.savedarfur.org
has the ideas on the website and you can find events in your area

We must not be complicit

regarding human to human mass crimes & genocide

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http://www.sudandivestment.org/rhodeisland/
http://www.savedarfur.org
http://www.genocideintervention.net
http://www.ajws.org

http://grassroots.amnestyusa.org/

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